Shhhhh – if you’re really quiet while you’re looking at this picture, you can hear strains of “In the Mood” and the sound of dancing feet shuffling in the sawdust on the floor of the old hall.
This is a picture of the Bertha, Nebraska Dance Hall. It is located at almost the geographic center of Burt County Nebraska. Bertha is a tiny community consisting of the Dance Hall and two or three farm places. There used to be a schoolhouse about a mile north of the dance hall, but it’s all gone and the site is overgrown with weeds and cluttered with junk.
I don’t know how long the Dance Hall has been there, but I was doing some historical research and stumbled across an ad in a 1927 issue of the Burt County Herald that there was going to be a revival there with an internationally famous guest speaker who specialized in Prophecy.
Lawrence Welk and his band played at the Bertha Dance Hall many times. And it’s where my mom and dad first got together as a couple, through Dad’s cousin and Mom’s best friend: Tom Coneally and Marybelle Roscoe. Tom and Marybelle eventually married and remained close friends with my folks all their lives.
Myrna once told me she drank her first beer parked on the road outside the Dance Hall. Maybe she can elaborate on that experience.
While I was standing on the road taking this picture, one of the residents of one of the houses came out and got into her vehicle and left. She kept an eye on me, though and waited politely until it was obvious I was done taking the photo, before she drove into my line of sight. She gave us a friendly wave. I’m guessing this kind of thing happens to her a lot.